Doctor Who #636: The Twin Dilemma Part 3

"Death by embolism!"
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Mar.29 1984.

IN THIS ONE... The TARDIS goes to gastropod-infested Jaconda where the Doctor confronts Azmael and learns his plan.

REVIEW: See, if the Doctor is going to keep choking people, I'm gonna start to think that's what he's all about. Azmael gets it this time, and the apology that always seems to follow. But then, I was tempted to choke him out too; he's always saying people need to die. It's SF melodrama at its more archaic. Before the Doctor jumps him, he's more or less behaving himself. Oh, he's too impatient to stick around while Lootenant/Leftenant Lang lasers his boots out of the giant gastropods' quick-drying slime trail, and leaves Peri to be - you might have guessed - captured. But that's part of the character's enthusiasm. Just look at how he basks in the Jacondan sun before he realizes the gastropods have laid waste to the planet. Of course, it's not all rainbows. It seems like every episode, the Doctor feels the need to shout something three times in a row ("Calm down? Calm down? Calm down?"). I find it very annoying.

At least he's doing something. Peri seems content to be Lang's hanger-on in this episode, a character that was apparently beyond her notice even when he was pointing a gun at her. She's the one who has to push theD Doctor to action, though even in that, she needs Lang's help. I don't see how the Doctor can blame her for everything when she literally never does anything. Speaking of not doing anything, that whole bit with the Doctor time traveling in the opener is a serious waste of potential timey-wimeyness. And speaking of waste, if you're going to give us a tour of the murals on Jaconda, how about lighting the scenes so we can actually see them?

For the guest cast, there's a little more action. Mestor shows off his powers on an onion thief (I thought embolisms had a euphoric element?). There's plenty of mistrust between him and Azmael, and Jacondans taking sides. Azmael's plan should be feasible with Time Lord technology - turning a couple of planets into another's moons sounds like the kind of thing Omega might have done for fun - though apparently, it could punch a hole in the universe. Is he teleporting the planets, or could his gravitic beam be dangerous to space-time? Either way, it's up to the twins not to screw up the equations. The new moons will act as a larder for Jaconda that can feed BOTH the furries and the gastropods. Better than eating Mestor's victims, I suppose. If you don't blow up creating in the process.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - Soylent Green is Jacondans! There's something to the story of a sudden population explosion, but a lot of missed opportunities and further regeneration psychosis. Enough already.



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